Monday's Apple event was unusually short, but once we got past the (slightly incomprehensible) voice-only subscription to Apple Music, and the AirPods 3 that we basically already knew about, things really started happening.

The new MacBook Pro is a tacit admission that Apple got this product wrong for five years, and an apology to the MacBook users of the world. A really, really good apology.


Why change something that works? Rarely has that been more apt than with MagSafe on the MacBook Pro.

Apple invented a simple and ingenious magnet technology that over the years saved countless Macs from falling to the floor. But when the MacBook Pro arrived in 2016, it switched to USB-C only. Why? Because USB-C is better looking? Because Jony Ive thought so? It's written in the stars.

These were strange decisions, but at least MagSafe is back. It's so obvious that a MacBook should have MagSafe that it's unfathomable why Apple made laptops without it for five years.

New MacBook Pro (2021) MagSafe connector

In addition, Apple kept the ability to charge via the Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports as well. Perfect for using a USB-C battery pack, or for charging the computer directly via a monitor. MagSafe charging with the ability to charge via USB-C as well - that's the way it should be.

HDMI connector

It's been a few years since Apple started pushing a USB-C-only lifestyle, but it hasn't been an easy transition. The shift to USB-C has taken longer than Apple probably intended, and HDMI has never become completely irrelevant. In many conference rooms, on many TVs, and on many desktops, it's all about HDMI.

Now we don't have to use an adapter just to plug in a monitor - thank you, Apple, and about time.

MacBook Pro (2021) ports

SD card reader

The MacBook Pro has lacked an SD card reader ever since 2016. When I asked an Apple representative about this particular issue at the launch of the MacBook Pro in 2016, I was told that some customers want SD card readers, but others want CF card readers. You'll never be able to make everyone happy, so it's better for people to use their own adapter.

Excuse me?

This level of arrogance towards users was astounding, even for Apple. If it's hard to decide on a card reader, then no one should get one?

That was an incomprehensible line of reasoning, now corrected. The SD card reader is back.

(Also, I'd like to think that SD cards were a good deal more common than CF cards, even in 2016).

Touch what?

Removed, and quickly forgotten: Apple's first tiny foray into touchscreen on the Mac ends here. The Touch Bar was introduced in 2016, then barely received a single update, and now that saga is over.

Let's move on.

A sensible upgrade - but not without controversy

The MacBook Pro simply makes sense in so many ways that Apple has previously missed. Even the prices are pretty reasonable.

£1,899/$1,999 for the 14in is a lot of money, but if you think of it as a high-end model with brutal performance, it's not unreasonable. The 16in costs the same as before, but at the same time is at least twice as fast as the outgoing Intel generation.

MacBook Pro 16in (2021)

Those looking for something cheaper should remember that there's always the option of the MacBook Air, which isn't far behind on the speed front thanks to its M1. You can't really complain about that level amount of performance.

What we can complain about is the MacBook Pro's notch. A notch on a MacBook Pro? Without Face ID? Cupertino, what are you doing?

But despite a misstep with the notch, the new MacBook Pro does so much right. Okay, maybe the computer is a little... ugly? In the photos, it looks bulbous and lumpy in a way a MacBook Pro hasn't looked since 2015, maybe even 2012.

Jony Ive probably hasn't had any stylistic input on these computers, which may explain the lack of chic - but in return we get MagSafe, an SD card reader, HDMI and the departure of the Touch Bar. The choice is simple. With the new MacBook Pro, Apple corrects so many of its past problems - and in doing so admits it's been wrong for five years.

Now we just wait for the internet to go wild on that notch, and for yet another MacBook Pro controversy to spark into life.

Different Think is a weekly column, published every Tuesday, in which Macworld writers expose their less mainstream opinions to public scrutiny. This article originally appeared on Macworld Sweden. Translation (using DeepL) by David Price.